Offer this lively combination of jicama, onion, and red bell pepper as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to a hearty casserole.
2 cups water
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
6 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon mustard seed
3 bay leaves, broken in half
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 medium jicamas, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
4 ribs celery, sliced
1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares
4 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1. In a large nonreactive saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, oil, and salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir in the garlic, peppercorns, mustard seed, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, and marjoram.
2. Add the jicamas, celery, onion, and red bell pepper and reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Mix in the chili peppers and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 or 2 days to absorb the full flavor of the marinade. Serve chilled.